Around the Institute

Think Tanks with Good Plumbing: The Means to Move the Issues!

November 5, 2010  • Paul L. Sparks

Consensus Unlikely:
Tuesday’s election delivered a partisan rebuke to excessive legislative gridlock. Will the next Congress do better? Not likely. Consensus-building NGOs and common ground solutions will get more attention. Our own Aspen Institute may find increased interest in blue ribbon citizen commissions like the Agent Orange/Dioxin Dialogue Group and the Commission on No Child Left Behind

Think Tanks Need Good Plumbing
Think tanks can contribute expert policy analysis to advocacy efforts. But expert analysis has to be translated. An East African participant in the Think Tank Initiative said it well recently. “Think tanks are like water tanks: they are prominent; they are full of valuable resources; but they are useless unless they have pipes connecting them to the people.”  

Strength in Working Groups
The Friends Committee on National Legislation’s working group recently released this Agenda for Policymakers and Citizens on identifying and preventing mass atrocities. This resource offers an extensive, but easily comprehensible step-by step list of how policymakers can take effective action. And with sign-ons from over 18 leading organizations, a brief like this has potential for even more influence.